For the last half century the subject of traumatic brain injury (TBI) has been one that has evoked controversy and sometimes heated debate. Today with the benefits of thousands of case studies in the literature and the development of diagnostic tools such as diffusion tensor imaging, neuro-imaging and advanced MRI machines, a consensus is emerging regarding the characteristics and nature of TBI.
It is now recognized that TBI is A PROCESS, NOT AN EVENT
Some injuries involving the brain may take weeks or even months to manifest themselves. Every brain contains billions of filament-like structures called axons.. Encased in a white fatty substance called myelin, these axons comprise the part of the brain known as white matter. They conduct impulses of information across pathways called synapses and are the highways that carry messages from the brain to the body. When a brain sustains trauma these axons may be twisted and torn and their ability to convey information through the brain is compromised and even destroyed. This is known as axonal shearing. Sheared axons can emit toxic chemicals that have a corrosive effect on other nearby or adjacent axons causing them to cease functioning normally and resulting in a cascade of pathology with more and more affected axons diminishing and destroying healthy brain functioning. Thus it may take up to several months before this spreading malfunction manifests itself in disabilities such as loss of mental cognition, behavioral changes and problems with memory and mood such as depression.
Therefore when a person sustains a head injury in a collision or in a fall we should not jump to conclusions too quickly about the presence, duration and seriousness of the trauma to the brain.
TBI is an insidious stalker. Once it occurs it can develop and spread in the brain over time beyond the date of the initial trauma.
Close observation and proper continued treatment and testing: these are the watchwords in fighting this stealthy enemy we call TBI. Keep visiting this website for more information in future blogs to be posted periodically.